Three Irish companies — ASG, VectorCap, and Avtrain — have partnered to create what the group hopes will be Europe’s first eVTOL aircraft approved pilot training organization called VertX Aero.
Announced at the Dubai Airshow earlier this month, VertX Aero aims to serve the future of urban air mobility (UAM) by offering online and in-person training for pilots and operators.
Avtrain provides training to drone pilots and operators for all fixed-wing, hybrid, single, and multirotor drones in all weight categories. The company previously partnered with Skyports, a U.K.-based vertiport owner and operator, to create Ireland’s first passenger and cargo vertiport by 2022.
Meanwhile, ASG is an aviation training organization approved by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to deliver training up to and including air transport pilot license theory training.
“We feel that the UAM training space would be best served by combining the expertise of both disciplines,” Diarmuid O’Riordan, founder of ASG, told eVTOL.com. “Ultimately, it is our view that eVTOL aircraft will have to be operated by pilots for many years to come before achieving autonomy.”
The group believes that eventually, UAM will merge with the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) space, and eVTOL aircraft will be operated semi-autonomously with a pilot controlling the aircraft from the ground.
“At this point, it is our view that these will effectively become UAM UAS operations within the certified UAS category,” O’Riordan said.
By being ready with both manned and unmanned pilot training, he said “we will have one foot in the future … [but] our primary focus in the short and medium term is on pilot training for the manned element of eVTOL operations.”
VertX Aero’s founders said it will work closely with aviation regulators around the world to help develop new regulations, compliance protocols, air traffic management solutions, and training for the UAM industry.
And in preparation for the long-term future of the industry, one of VertX Aero’s objectives is to also develop the standards for the UAS certified category, and in particular, the pilot licensing and operator approvals for eVTOL aircraft and all aircraft operating in the UAS certified category.
“This turnkey solution will offer new air operator entrants access to airline pilot quality training and examination of their eVTOL aircrew to ensure the highest operational safety standards in this exciting new industry,” said Hugo McNulty, principal at VectorCap, an aerospace investment manager.